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A blog about all things allergen-free and delicious

Entries in Recipe (8)


Recipe: Crane Dance Lamb Chops with Rosemary

I found this recipe in an unlikely place - (here's the original recipe).  I didn't make any real changes to it, except that I don't use black pepper, and only used 4 lamb chops for this marinade (you could use 8) when the recipe called for 10-12, which seems excessive.  The only other change is that I slowly drizzled and simultaneously whisked the olive oil into the other marinade ingredients so that the vinaigrette did not separate.  I loved what this recipe did to the lamb.  It mellowed but kept the wonderful game flavor of the lamb, and then deepened the flavor just enough. 

As with all good recipes - quality ingredients are key.  I got my grass fed lamb chops from Crane Dance Farm.  Grass fed lamb is higher in nutrients, including Omega 3 (yep, lamb has 50% of the OM3's of fish), Vitamins B12 and B3, tryptophan, and thyroid and immune system-loving selenium.  Grass fed meat also digests more easily.  I found the Crane Dance Lamb Chops to be top notch meat.  Loved them.


Prep Time: 12 minutes

Cook Time: 16 minutes

Total Time: 28 minutes

Yield: Serves 2 to 4



  • 4-8 loin lamb chops, about 1 1/2 inches thick
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (optional)



Combinethe vinegar, rosemary, garlic and salt  in a large glass bowl (or an 8x8 shallow pan).  Slowly drizzle and simultaneously which in the olive oil.   Place chops in bowl and turn repeatedly to coat well.  You could put all of the contents into a ziplock bag, too.  Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 12 hours. Once marinated, remove chops from fridge and allow to come to room temperature (20 minutes). Preheat grill or grill pan for medium-high heat. Remove chops from marinade and place on a lightly oiled grill rack. Cook for 8 minutes on each side. Remove from heat, allow to rest for 3-5 minutes, and serve.

RECIPE: Braised Duck Breast & Cassoulet from Bistro Bella Vita (gluten- and dairy-free)

Braised Duck Breast, photo courtesy of Jeff Hage of Green Frog Photo

A Cassoulet, at its most basic, is a bean stew that is cooked in an earthenware casserole dish.  The dish comes from  Languedoc, a region in the Southwest of France.  Although there are many variations on a cassoulet throughout France and around the world, the French actually have committees that sit around and make rules about what makes their national dishes. . . their national dishes.  That's love.

According to a lovely cooking site,, a proper cassoulet is defined as containing 70 percent navy (or haricot) beans, stock, herbs and seasonings like garlic, and 30 percent pork, mutton and duck or goose confit.

For those of us with food allergies, especially to gluten and dairy, we often have to break the rules, and a cassoulet, surprisingly, can adapt very well.  One of my local favorite restaurants, Bistro Bella Vita broke the rules for me and accommodated my rather long list of allergies so I could take part in a version of this French favorite.  I first tried the duck with the cassoulet, and made a second visit to Bistro where the duck was nestled onto summer vegetables (pictured here).

Read Bistro Bella Vita’s Tender review, and the following two recipes for yourself. 


Cassoulet Recipe


-Dried beans (Great Northern, Cannellini or Navy)   - 4 cups

-Chicken broth, no salt added – 6 qts

-Diced bacon – 6 strips

-Diced pork tenderloin – ½ lb

-Minced garlic – 2 T

- Large diced carrot  - 1 ea

-Diced Spanish onion – 2 ea

-Diced celery – ½ bunch

-DRY marsala wine – 1/2 750ml bottle

-Honey – 2 Tbl

-Dried oregano – 1 Tbl

-Dried Basil – 1 Tbl

-Fresh minced rosemary – 1 Tbl

-Kosher salt to taste

-Sherry vinegar – 2 Tbl



-Soak the beans in water over night in refrigerator  

-In a large pan cook the bacon over medium heat until it is about halfway cooked, next add the pork and cook for about 2 minutes

-Add the carrot, celery, onion and garlic and sweat for about 4 minutes (Don’t let the garlic brown at all)

-Add the marsala wine to the pan and cook the wine down about ¾ of the way

-Add remaining ingredients (Honey, oregano, basil, rosemary, salt and vinegar)

-Make sure the beans are covered by the broth by at least 2 inches. *

         *You may need to add some water*

-Bring up to a boil then reduce to low/medium heat to a hard simmer

-Cook for about 2 hours. *Don’t let the liquid dry out* Make sure you check occasionally and stir with a wooden spoon and be gentle.

-Cook until beans are fully cooked and liquid has thickened. If the beans are still not done after two hours, you may want to reduce the heat toward the end of cooking and just add some water a little at a time until everything comes together.



Braised Duck Breast

From what I understand from Kyle, the Special Events coordinator at Bistro Bella Vita, the chefs change the braising recipe from time to time, depending who is cooking, their creative whims and the type of product they are working with.  You can change the flavor profile by removing the white wine and herbs, using just the chicken stock to deglaze the pan.  Here is my interpretation based upon what the chefs sent to me.


-4 duck breasts, skin and fat trimmed; seasoned with sea salt

-Mirepoix (1 cup diced onion, 1/2 cup chopped carrot, 1/2 cup chopped celery). 

-½ cup of white wine

-1-1/2 cups of chicken broth

-8 large sprigs of thyme (you could also use sage)

-2 bay leaves


Braising Instructions

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Thoroughly dry the duck breast with a paper towel (external moisture will prevent duck from browning properly).

In a Dutch Oven or a large, covered oven-proof skillet, sear the duck on all sides in 2 tablespoons of oil (or duck fat).  Make sure the pan is very hot before searing duck.  When the duck is seared, remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the mirepoix to the juices in the pan (carrots, celery, onions) to the pan and cook for 10 – 15 minutes, and until the vegetables are a bit caramelized and just tender. 

Deglaze the pan with ½ cup of white wine. 

Add in the chicken stock and herbs, and then bring to a simmer.

Add the duck breasts back into the pan.

Cover and place in the oven @ 300 degrees F.  for 1 to 1&1/2 hours or until the duck is really tender, checking often and adding more liquid if necessary.

Remove the duck to a plate or cutting board, cover with parchment and let rest for 5 minutes.  Slice and serve over vegetables, or with the Bistro Bella Vita Cassoulet (above).


Warmest thanks to the chefs and to Kyle at Bistro Bella Vita for these recipes.   My thanks also to Jeff Hage of Green Frog Photo for providing these shots of the duck.


Recipe: Potatoes and Onions on the Grill


The Healthier Side of the Potato

I can't remember a time when I didn't love grilling potatoes in aluminum foil packets (although now I line the foil with parchment and nix the butter).  I grew up crisping them up with onions, butter and salt.  Since this is a simple, classic way to cook these wonderful comfort-giving tubers, you may have tried this very recipe.  It may even be part of your regular grill-time magic.  But if you've forgotten about this summer treat, or your dairy allergies have left these carmelized bits of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, mangenese, copper, tryptophan and phytonutrients off the table, I'm here to remind you about them.  You don't have to use butter.  And potatoes are good for most of us, especially the phytonutrient-rich red and purple ones.


The Recipe

This recipe works really well with Old Beau Steaks.  Yum!

Serves 3-4.

Get the grill cranking to about 425 degrees.

Cut 2 8x8 pieces of aluminum foil and 2 8x8 pieces of parchment paper.  Put the parchment paper on top of the foil. I like smaller packets so that there is more carmelization on more of the potatoes. 

Slice 4-6 red potatoes into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices, or 1 inch chunks.  Place as many as you can comfortably fit onto the parchment paper evenly.  You need to have enough foil/paper to fold all four ends into a tight little package.  You can use any kind of potato for this.  I like red or Yukon gold because of their taste and tenderness.

Slice 1-2 onions (any kind will do, but Vidalia are super tasty) into 1/4 inch slices - or chunks.  Place with the potatoes on your parchment.

Drizzle lightly with olive oil

Swirl a few pinches of sea salt onto the potatoes and onions to taste. (Sea salt has more nutrients than regular table salts, which have been stripped of nutrients).

On a gas grill, leave them on the hottest part of the grill, covered, for about 30-40 minutes and flip with tongs after 15-20.  Open a packet or two (carefully; the steam is intense) and check to see that the potatoes next to the parchment are nicely charred brown and super tender when pierced with a fork.  If they are, they are done.  You can let them sit in the unopened packet while you cook your steaks, or you can put the steaks on after you flip the packets.  Either way, they will stay hot in the packet for 15 min.  For charcoal grills, put them over a spot on the grill where there is a high mound of coals. 

I like them just like this - no frills.  But once in a while I mix it up.  You can add things like:

  • minced garlic or shallots
  • parsley,  dill, sage, or rosemary
  • black or red pepper flakes; or fresh hot peppers
  • green, yellow, red, or purple bell peppers, sliced
  • Marconi peppers
  • mushrooms
  • cooked bacon
  • lemon slices


Health Note

Potatoes, as well as tomatoes, peppers (sweet and hot), eggplant and tomatillos, are nightshades and contain alkaloids.  So your doctor might recommend that you not eat them if you have certain conditions. 

I avoid placing my food in direct contact with aluminum whenever possible.  Even though the most recent studies don't show a direct link between alzheimer's and aluminum, it has been studied as a cause and aluminum has been found to be toxic to the nervous system in high doses (how high is unclear).  So I put parchment paper on the inside of the aluminum foil to reduce the chance of unnecessary heavy metal leakage.  To me, let's just steer away from the risks we can and give our immune and nervous systems a break.  And although the potato, the most plentiful crop on the planet, is usually fried, dipped or smothered in something, if you can eat it, give the potato a break, too.  Eat its goodness and partake in its nutritiousness, not its calories.  Although, I admit, the occasional mound of french fries is a thing of beauty, I dont' miss them when I eat this recipe.


For more information on potato varieties in the U.K.:

In the U.S.:


This post does not consitute as medical advice in any way, shape or form.  As always, consult with your doctor if you have any medical conditions or nutritional restrictions.

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